Here's the second part of our e-mail chat with Ted Libbey, author of "The NPR Listener's Encyclopedia of Classical Music." If you missed Part I, click here.
If you had 50 more pages, what are some of the entries you would include?
First, I'd put in the entries I can't believe I left out: Elektra, A
Midsummer Night's Dream, Pines and Fountains of Rome. Stephen Hough, Josef Szigeti. All oversights. Then I'd want to expand the entries for Bach,Beethoven, Richard Strauss. Add an entry for "chorale." Add entries for composers Wilhelm Stenhammar, Henri Duparc, Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Domenico Cimarosa, G.B. Viotti, Binchois, Rore, and Wert; maybe George Rochberg, Vincent Persichetti, a couple others. Among performers, Anton Seidl, Eduard Van Beinum, Andre Cluytens, Ferenc Fricsay, Julius Katchen, Gary Graffman, Richard Goode, maybe Karita Mattila, Osmo Vanska, Rene Pape, Mitsuko Uchida and a few others who are currently active.
Why so little on James Levine taking over the BSO? Are we just obsessed here, or is that significant?
At the time I was finishing up the text, summer of 2005, Levine had just completed his first season as the BSO's music director. There wasn't that much to say yet about his partnership with the orchestra (though if you read my entry on the BSO, I do identify him as "a proven orchestra builder"). The "fall" hadn't occurred yet. I did voice my opinion that Ozawa stayed in the job way too long, but I didn't think it would be fair or prudent to start singing Hosannahs to Levine until he and the orchestra had had a chance to spend a few seasons together.
Who do you picture as your audience for this?
The title says this is a "listener's" encyclopedia, and that's who I'm
aiming at. Someone who listens to classical music on the radio, may enjoy going to concerts, may listen to recordings. Someone intelligent, worldly, curious, engaged - your typical public radio listener and classical music lover - who is eager to learn more and be led toward new discoveries. The book is written for the layperson, but, to paraphrase Mozart, my hope is that it will appeal to both the connoisseur and the amateur.